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Discussion Starter #1
I am sure it has been asked before. I have tried many things. I just want to know what some of the more experienced members use on their tracks to clean it & keep trains running great!


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I just have small seasonal layout, so I usually only need a towel and rubbing alcohol to remove the dirt. A scotchbright pad can help with the tougher crud. Don't use steel wool.

For larger layouts I've read guys have track cleaning cars.
 

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hmm .. i don't clean, just one application of NoOx Id A Special .. six or so years ago..
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I do have a rail cleaning car. I have used a little vinegar I have wiped it down with window cleaner. To help remove some of the crude. My track is getting there. I think I may need to wash all my wheels of my running stock. I am just looking at what you all do to keep everythingrunning smooth. I still get some jerky spots with my diesels & dead spots with my steamers.
Any info is appreciated!!


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I am sure it has been asked before. I have tried many things. I just want to know what some of the more experienced members use on their tracks to clean it & keep trains running great!


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I use 600 grit sandpaper as a light buff, then wipe with isopropyl alcohol, and then wipe the rails with a large steel washer.

That's to get trains running well with high reliability and no stalls after several weeks of no running at all.

But, to KEEP trains running with only a few days in between, I run my trains around the tracks. I use metal wheelsets, and that does the trick.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the info!!

I should also add I am running nickel silver track. It is Bachman easy z track.
I have soldered all the track hook ups. I also ran two jumper wires at about 15’ apart. I also have about 70’ of track.
It has been sitting for about 5 years just out in the room. Same for the locos I had them cleaned before sitting, but I should of put a little of light oil on them before I just walked away.
Thanks again everyone!


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As has been mentioned, locomotive and rolling stock wheels have to be cleaned regularly, as crude will build up and be spread to the track......

I gently use a sharp #11 exacto knife to gently scrape off the built-up crude on the metal wheels of my rolling stock, and "gently" is the operative word.....don't scrape so hard as to scratch the wheels, just enough to break the crude loose....then use a soft cloth with alcohol to clean up the treads......removing the wheels from the trucks may make it easier as well.....

Hey, look at that, I just wrote a "best practice".....which is really only my own opinion, but it works for me.....:)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks old hobo!! I just tried that trick on my loco wheels , and a few of my pullmans! Worked great!! Now if I can just get these steamers to make a full pass on the track! Lol
On a quick note the track has cleaned up very nice! Thanks again for all of your help guys!

Off to clean my rolling stock....... ehhhh that’s a lot of wheels! Lol


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For track I can reach (which is all of it on my relatively small layout):

1. 91% isopropyl alcohol
2. small flat jar top
3. two fingers

Then...
a. put some alcohol in jar top
b. wet tips of fingers
c. rub along top and INSIDE WEB of each rail

Works for me when needed.
 

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Wheel cleaning electrically

Thanks old hobo!! I just tried that trick on my loco wheels , and a few of my pullmans! Worked great!! Now if I can just get these steamers to make a full pass on the track! Lol
On a quick note the track has cleaned up very nice! Thanks again for all of your help guys!

Off to clean my rolling stock....... ehhhh that’s a lot of wheels! Lol


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IronmanStark;

You might want to build yourself a locomotive cradle to clean the drive wheels of your steam, and diesel locomotives. Mine is made from three pieces of scrap lumber and a piece of soft felt. To clean wheels, attach one wire from the "track" terminals of a DC power pack to an X-acto knife or miniature file. Attach the other wire to the power pickups on the other side of the locomotive, or tender. With the speed knob of the power pack 1/2 way up, hold the knife blade, or file, lightly against the wheel to be cleaned. The wheels should spin and the knife or file will clean them quickly.

Good luck, Have fun;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

Locomotive cradle.JPG
 

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I haven't had to clean track in months.

A few tiny drops of Rail Zip in front of locomotives before a session takes care of cleaning chores.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
IronmanStark;

You might want to build yourself a locomotive cradle to clean the drive wheels of your steam, and diesel locomotives. Mine is made from three pieces of scrap lumber and a piece of soft felt. To clean wheels, attach one wire from the "track" terminals of a DC power pack to an X-acto knife or miniature file. Attach the other wire to the power pickups on the other side of the locomotive, or tender. With the speed knob of the power pack 1/2 way up, hold the knife blade, or file, lightly against the wheel to be cleaned. The wheels should spin and the knife or file will clean them quickly.

Good luck, Have fun;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment 522764


It is funny you mentioned this. I just made up something like this last night! I used some foam board , and 1/4” Eva foam to cradle it. Some alligator wire clips to mount to the frame & my blade.
It’s cool how genius minds think alike! Lol


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Iso-alcohol, 90%+ pure.

Whatever you do, never use Simple Green to clean train track. It's a long story and too long and painful to go into, but trust me on that . . .
 

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Doesn't look like anyone has mentioned this...
I don't own one, never used one, but there are several makes of track cleaning cars that are filled with one chemical or another and pushed or pulled by a loco.. I'll bet there are a number of them on ebay...
Maybe someone out there can post their opinion of them. M
 

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I have two to or three. It's the only way i clean the track. In O-Gauge, the cleaning car from Pat's Trains seems to work best for me. Not sure about other scales. You can put whatever fluid you want in them, but again I use only the iso-alcohol.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I will make sure never to try simple green!!!
I do have a track cleaning car. It works ok... but for how dirty my tracks where I had to do the old way of scrubbing by hand!! What are your thoughts on vinegar? I have been using that the past few days for cleaning... seems to be ok.


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i wiped down my eztrack that was around my xmas tree with wd-40 and a micro fiber rag. came clean quick. i need to clean these 1940-1960s cars as they are so dirty and leave black grime on the tracks...
 
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